Why live selling will change social selling forever

Published May 10, 2022

Social commerce, or the promotion and selling of products directly on social media channels, is a must for any retailer in the digital age. Half of all U.S. adults have purchased via social media in 2021 alone. However, many retailers struggle with choosing a strategy to bring in the most sales. By far, one of the most effective methods is live selling.

But what is it?

Live selling involves hosting live video streams on social media. During these streams, you can introduce your products and offer viewers the opportunity to buy them live using tags and links to your site. It's an engaging and interactive way to boost your revenue and deepen engagement with your followers. Even better, hosting a video stream is much easier than it seems, and you have plenty of platforms to choose from. 

How live selling works on social media

So what makes live selling different as a social commerce approach? Just a few years ago, retailers relied on social media ads for their marketing. These ads would appear on users' social feeds on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. While they led to more product awareness, they lacked an interactive element, feeling more like traditional, old-school advertising. 

This interactive component is why the livestreaming market is expected to reach nearly $250 billion by 2027. Viewers can ask questions during a live sale and post comments the streamer can directly answer. This solves a large problem with regular social ads — having to send a message and wait for a reply. Individuals can quickly lose interest during this waiting time and even forget about a product. 

Live online shopping platforms like Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and Amazon Live are some of the most favored options. Each site is unique in how people can engage with retailers. Additionally, each option targets different markets. For instance, Instagram is highly used by those aged 18-29, while Facebook is popular with users aged 30-49. You can focus on your target market just by using one specific tool.

Reasons your business should care about live selling

Using live selling as a marketing strategy provides numerous benefits. Live interaction is a big advantage as is the ability to build brand awareness or the recognition of your company. Not only is it important to consistently demonstrate your authority in your market, but it's vital to reflect your company's human side. For instance, if you use your CEO or company's founder as your host, you can put a face to the name. Alternatively, you can work with an influencer who has a loyal following. Their followers will come to associate your business with them.

Additional benefits include:

  • Reduced costs: Many brands worry about needing a big budget for advertising. Fortunately, you can start live selling completely free. It costs nothing to go live and display your products, talk about them, and speak with audiences. If you want to go bigger, you can invest in more advanced cameras or lighting equipment. 
  • Increased web traffic: Though not everyone who watches your stream may buy, you can enjoy higher web traffic on your site and social accounts. As a result, you gain more followers who can turn into eventual patrons in the future. 
  • Creates a sense of urgency: Viewers want to get involved right away with live events. This is because viewers can see others buying the products, and they don't want to miss out. Otherwise, the product may sell out. There is a greater sense of urgency and a tendency to make an impulse buy, leading to more sales for you. 
  • Video is more effective: Video, in general, is a great way to market your business. After all, 82% of all internet traffic comes from video streaming and downloads. Visuals bring marketing messages to life, and the information is often easier for individuals to retain than long, wordy articles. Plus, you can implement many other interactive features in videos, such as graphics, GIFs, and moving text. 
  • Excellent customer service: Lastly, social selling improves customer service. You can build deeper customer relationships, whether it's with a new or current customer. The ability to answer questions  creates a sense of community among your watchers. 

Related: Take your social media presence to the next level with social commerce

How to use live selling on social media to boost revenue

Before setting up a video stream, it's essential to detail your goals. Begin by asking yourself what you want to accomplish with your live streaming. Common goals include growing your number of followers, leads, conversions, or purchases. Narrowing down your goal to something specific and achievable will help set a focus and offer better storytelling opportunities. To get the process started, undergo an internal audit with your team to discover what is currently lacking in your business strategy.

Setting up video streaming goals often looks similar to creating traditional advertising goals. After all, with traditional advertising, you also want to boost your profits and get more people interested in your products. However, social media advertising requires you to think about a digital audience. Also another significant benefit to live selling is access to customer data and insights. You can see who your audience is during your video streams, including their demographics. You can learn about their age, location, or gender, which helps you create more targeted live advertising. 

You can also gain data from existing customers. For instance, you can ask for feedback on your products, services, or business and better understand your customers' pain points, fears, or issues with their current purchasing behavior. On the other hand, you can see what you're doing right to implement more of it. 

With live selling sales expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, incorporating livestream tactics can quickly boost your revenue. Half of millennials and Gen Zers would buy from a live video, making it a can't-miss opportunity.

New opportunities for live selling that increase social media engagement

When determining which social media platform to use for your live selling, consider your audience and your market. For instance, Instagram Live is big with fashion brands, while Facebook Live often attracts luxury product sellers. Other tools include Twitter, YouTube, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, and Twitch. Take some time to research where your market attracts the most relevant audiences, or you may stream to audiences unlikely to go through with a purchase.

Once you've decided where you'll go live, incorporate the best practices to connect with customers and give them a high-quality experience. You can follow the tips below:

1. Choose a date and time: Firstly, you'll want to pick a date and time when your followers are most active. Deciding on the right moment to go live is often a case of trial and error. You can test out live videos during different times of the day to see when most viewers tune in and stick to that time in the future. 

2. Get prepared: While live selling is more spontaneous than traditional advertising, it's still advisable to be as prepared as possible. Create an outline of talking points, and ensure all equipment is working correctly. You can rehearse to see if any issues pop up you can resolve beforehand. 

3. Have call-to-action ready to go: Have your product tags or checkout options set up to ensure viewers have a smooth buying experience. Additionally, have a compelling call-to-action and instructions you will use to encourage customers to make the buy. 

4. Host various live events: You have many options for livestreams. For example, you can host product tutorials, how-to's, interviews, behind-the-scenes looks, Q&As, or events. Trying out new experiences will keep things fresh for your followers. 

5. Incorporate urgency tactics: To emphasize urgency, include tactics like temporary promo codes, countdowns, and live-only giveaways or deals. Viewers will know they only have a certain window to buy your product. 

6. Follow-up: After your livestream ends, follow up with your viewers. Say thank you to those who attended the live event and answer any questions left in the comments you may not have had time to address previously. 

Remember that in the end, engagement is key. You can measure social engagement by looking at the number of viewers, comments, reactions, chat messages, product clicks, and conversions you receive. After hosting several streams, you'll become more in tune with what your viewers want to see, leading to more revenue. 

Live selling is the future

As a modern-day retailer, you can't afford to miss out on the numerous advantages presented by live commerce. Potential patrons are online, and they are happy to engage with brands that share interactive, interesting content like livestreams. Begin your live selling journey today by deciding on a goal and social media platform and enjoy higher conversions and happier customers.

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